It’s Scam Awareness Week, and as we work to keep the community safe online through our eSmart programs, it made us wonder - where did this all start and how do these scammers keep biting us? Some seem ridiculous, while others we might fall for and not even realise.
Here a few of the most recognisable scams.
Nigerian 419 scam (scam which goes back to the dawn of time)
A foreigner from a position of royalty has found themselves in a situation where they can’t access their money and is asking for your help, with 10-fold your contribution in exchange. This scam has been running for as long as we’ve had internet, and people are still falling victim. It’s centuries-old too - people would receive letters saying how someone of nobility was unrightfully in jail and they needed money to bribe a guard to be released, or there was hidden treasure just out of reach and they needed money to retrieve it. They then went on to explain how they could return your contribution and much more, as long as you assisted them with this favour. Unfortunately, this is not as good an opportunity as it may seem. Simply delete the email, as this mysterious stranger will not give you the riches they promise.
Online dating scam (he/she doesn’t really love you)
Dating scams are very prevalent on online dating sites - you start chatting to someone and they show strong interest very soon into the relationship. After gaining your trust, they’ll eventually confess they have money issues and need to borrow a little. This eventually becomes a lot. Be cautious when talking to people online. Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person, and always consider the possibility that the interaction could be a scam.
“You’ve Won!” (someone hacking your bank details)
Many people receive an email or a text message saying they’ve been entered into a competition and they have won! If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. If you haven’t entered the competition for the $1 million you supposedly won, don’t trust the link they are asking you to follow. Many people still get tricked in regard to this, so simply delete those messages. All you’ve won is someone hacking your online information.
Emails and text messages from seemingly legitimate businesses (get your virus here!)
You may receive an email or a false text message from a legitimate business asking you to follow a link and verify your details, or an unfamiliar purchase or log in has been made on your account. Always be cautious going ahead with accounts such as this, as you may panic and think your account has been hacked. The safest way to combat this is to call the company directly, who safely confirm or deny the email details. If the issue is legitimate they can solve this over the phone.
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